Thomas Kahl, 1951-2014

Published 10:12 am Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Thomas Aaron Kahl passed away Easter morning, April 20, 2014, at his brother’s home in Poquoson, Va., with his wife and family by his side. Tom had valiantly battled cancer and its complications for over 17 months. In April he ran his last marathon, sharing all the love he could, before he left us to be with heavenly father.

Thomas Kahl

Thomas Kahl

Tom was born to Ardis Fay (Ward) Kahl and the then-late Thomas Lobeck Kahl on Oct. 19, 1951, in Glenwood. He was baptized in the Lutheran church located in Glenwood.

After his mother remarried a then-Navy man (Richard W. Henry Sr.) Tom’s childhood was spent living in numerous places, such as Connecticut, Georgia, Colorado and Japan. He was fortunate to be able to make frequent visits with his grandparents who resided in St. Peter, Glenwood and Alexandria.

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In 1970 his family moved to Kiester, where Tom graduated from Kiester High School in 1971. After graduation Tom worked several jobs in Mankato. In Jan. 1972 Tom enlisted in the Army, which was the start of a proud 20 1/2-year career. On March 17, 1972, he was united in marriage to Diane Kay Courrier of Walters and Kiester. The ceremony was at Rice Lake Evangelical United Brethren Church in rural Wells.

During his military career Tom served one tour in Vietnam, two tours in Germany, a tour in Korea and numerous tours stateside stretching from New York to California. He retired from military service in June of 1992. At the time he was serving as an ROTC instructor at Washington University in St. Louis. He and his family continued to live at their Granite City, Ill., home, just across the river from St. Louis, for several years after his retirement. After retiring from the military, Tom and his wife, Diane, worked as maintenance custodians for Assembly of God Church in Granite City, Ill. Tom also started a business called Tinkering Tom where he provided remodeling, renovation and repair services for several rental, commercial and private property owners. Oftentimes his entire family would be recruited to help out with some of the larger projects.

In 1999 Tom, his wife and youngest child moved back to a family farm located in rural Kiester. He worked briefly for Winnebago Industries in Forest City, Iowa, before taking a position at Progress Castings in Albert Lea. After working at Progress Castings for five years, Tom attend Mankato State University, where he received an associate degree in heating ventilation and air conditioning. Tom had the joy of graduating in the same year as his youngest son, Christopher, who was studying to be an electrician.

Tom also spent time volunteering at the United South Central school system, where he assisted in teaching a class on photography. Aside from photography, admittedly his favorite hobby, he enjoyed gardening, working in the yard, woodwork and pretty much anything that involved working with tools. He enjoyed traveling to visit family and the occasional fishing expedition.

Tom was a lifetime member of the Disabled American Veterans as well as a member of the Kiester American Legion. He was a member of Farming of Yesteryear where he was able to proudly display his woodworking abilities in the viewable incubator he built for his wife.

He was preceded in death by his father, Thomas Lobeck Kahl; great-grandparents Clara Aaberg and Jon and Nancy Kahl; grandparents Thomas Henry and Constance Kahl, Joseph Aaron and Gladice Ward and Theodore and Verna Henry; his earthly parents Ardis Fay (Ward-Kahl) and Richard W. Henry Sr.; sister-in-law, Carrie Henry, and his infant niece, Aron Aaberg .

He will be greatly missed by his wife, Diane Kay Kahl; three children, Tracy Ann and (Randy) Sudbrock of Virginia Beach, Va., Thomas Courhen and (Corrie) Kahl of St. Charles, Mo., and Christopher Lee and (Jennifer) Kahl of Newport News, Va.; five grandchildren, Nicholas Blaine Sudbrock, Christian Alexander Sudbrock, Katherine Breanne Sudbrock, Madison McKenzie Stengel Kahl and Thomas Xavier Kahl; his siblings Roxanne Louise and (Dean) Barsness of Crystal, Dawn Rene Perry of Big Lake, Richard Walter Henry Jr. of Houma, La., Glennice Jo and (Clayton) Aaberg of Glenwood, Ted R. Henry of Houma, Mark Allen and (Michelle) Henry of Poquoson, Va., and Keith Lyn and (Julie) Henry of Frankfort, Kan.; and numerous other family members and friends.

Memorial services will be at 2 p.m. Friday at Peninsula Funeral Home in Newport News.